Policy paper for fossil-free districts and cities

Why and how fossil fuels in buildings will be history by 2050


Publication date


Related legislative initiative

EU Renewable Energy Policy

By 2050, fossil fuels in cities will hopefully be history. Renewable technologies that are already available, such as heat pumps and heat networks, will make it possible to use a wide range of renewable resources to heat cities. Renewable electricity, waste heat, geothermal and solar thermal energy will replace fossil fuels such as natural gas. Cities will have been empowered and supported to achieve this energy transition.

While this transformation is possible, there still is a long way to go. Fossil fuels currently account for 75% of the energy produced for heating the residential sector and buildings are responsible for 36% of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from energy in the EU. Moreover, cities face numerous barriers limiting their capacity to lead this transition.

In this paper we analyse the barriers that currently prevent local governments from implementing the heat transition and we highlight the technologies and local know-how that are already available to drive the energy transition. We also propose a set of key drivers for local stakeholders and policy makers at all levels to achieve a fast and successful transition to fossil-free cities and neighbourhoods. This paper is the result of discussions with our members and other European cities.